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China Companies Rent White Foreigners

From a company that would never stoop to tokenism, CNN:

Chinese companies ‘rent’ white foreigners

By Lara Farrar, for CNN
June 29, 2010

Beijing, China (CNN) — In China, white people can be rented.

For a day, a weekend, a week, up to even a month or two, Chinese companies are willing to pay high prices for fair-faced foreigners to join them as fake employees or business partners.

Some call it "White Guy Window Dressing." To others, it’s known as the "White Guy in a Tie" events, "The Token White Guy Gig," or, simply, a "Face Job."

And it is, essentially, all about the age-old Chinese concept of face. To have a few foreigners hanging around means a company has prestige, money and the increasingly crucial connections — real or not — to businesses abroad

Last year, Jonathan Zatkin, an American actor who lives in Beijing, posed as the vice president of an Italian jewelry company that had, allegedly, been in a partnership with a Chinese jewelry chain for a decade.

When is being foreign a career advantage?

Zatkin was paid 2,000 yuan (about $300) to fly, along with a couple of Russian models, to a small city in the central province of Henan where he delivered a speech for the grand opening ceremony of a jewelry store there.

"I was up on stage with the mayor of the town, and I made a speech about how wonderful it was to work with the company for 10 years and how we were so proud of all of the work they had done for us in China," Zatkin said. "They put up a big bandstand and the whole town was there and some other local muckety-mucks."

The requirements for these jobs are simple. 1. Be white. 2. Do not speak any Chinese, or really speak at all, unless asked. 3. Pretend like you just got off of an airplane yesterday.

Those who go for such gigs tend to be unemployed actors or models, part-time English teachers or other expats looking to earn a few extra bucks. Often they are jobs at a second- or third-tier city, where the presence of pale-faced foreigners is needed to impress local officials, secure a contract or simply to fulfill a claim of being international

Sometimes companies will hire Caucasians simply to sit in the office a few hours a day near the window where clients and customers can see them.

Which one might say is literally “window dressing.”

White women are also a hot commodity, sometimes to pose as phony foreign girlfriends, or, in the case of Vicky Mohieddeen, to pretend to be an oil tycoon.

Mohieddeen, who is Scottish, took a job in 2008 to attend what she describes as some sort of "oil drilling conference" in Shandong province for 300 yuan ($44). Several busloads of foreigners, with nationalities ranging from Pakistani to Nigerian, were trucked to the event, she said. They were greeted by brass bands and feted with a sumptuous dinner.

"I was like, ‘Yeah, we have a lot of oil in Scotland.’ I didn’t know what to say. It was a bit nerve-racking. We were guests of honor of the vice mayor. We were put in a nice hotel. It was quite fancy."

For Mohieddeen, who had just arrived in Beijing at the time, the experience, albeit bizarre, was an introduction to a side of China most foreigners will never see.

"It is part of what China is all about, you know," Mohieddeen said. "There is quite an elaborate fantasy world going on here where if everyone buys into it, it does not matter if it is the truth. Those kinds of experiences give me a fuller understanding of the way the culture works."

Of course we have the same thing in our country, only different.

But in our country people with particular skin colorations are often chosen to front for companies that want government contracts and other special favors.

Still, it’s good to hear that there is still something we could export to China.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “China Companies Rent White Foreigners”

  1. Mithrandir says:

    Being white in Asia — gets you somewhere.

    Being white in America –gets you no where.

    Being white in Mexico–gets you in jail.

    Being white in Africa–gets you killed.

  2. P. Aaron says:

    $300.00?!!!! I wouldn’t do it for less than $2000.00 a day!

  3. confucius says:

    i think i just wet myself

  4. proreason says:

    The chicoms are stealing Obamy’s gig.

  5. NoNeoCommies says:

    I suppose that is better than the “modelling gigs” that lured American women to foreign countries where things went bad after their passport was taken.

  6. Right of the People says:

    Isn’t that what The Won is doing?

  7. bobbys says:

    Im available to do the remake of KUNG FOO the movie but i should warn them i am blond with a jersey accent..

    I do fancy me self a bit of an expert though on Chinese culture.

    I order General Taos chicken and egg rolls at Safeway..

    Dont wish to make more then 250000 a year though the Taxes would kill me!!!!

  8. canary says:

    CNN should ask Obama how he feels fooling some Americans into believing he was a brain and a Christian.

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